People are unique, and everyone sees the world differently.
Present two people with identical items and you’ll get two different perceptions about the packaging and material.
One man sees Pledge, an outstanding furniture polish, and the other man sees a can of spray no different from any other furniture polish. One woman sees a luxurious Gucci purse, and the other sees an overpriced bag to hold keys and makeup.
Selective perception is what makes consumers process stimuli most relevant to their needs and evaluation. And we each do this continually in a process called perceptual vigilance.
In short, we watch out for what matters most to us.
We use perception vigilance continually. We see what we want to see – usually the stimuli that relates to our lives or that reinforces our beliefs. We filter out the rest; we already have enough to deal with.
Then we experience an event that triggers a change.
Wow, Where’d All These Come From?
Have you ever bought a car? You brought the car home, drove it around for a day or two, and you suddenly noticed how many other people own cars just like yours.
How about a baby? Women who become pregnant suddenly realize how many other women are pregnant. Then the baby arrives, and new fathers find themselves seeing other new fathers with babies everywhere they go.
In the market for a new computer? You might be noticing advertisements for computers all over the place.
We never noticed these similarities before. Now we do. Where did all those cars and pregnant women and babies come from?
They were always there. We just didn’t see them, because our selective perception filtered them out. A trigger event woke us up, changing our perception and we suddenly notice what we never saw before.
The Awakening and Your Marketing
Trigger events are important to marketing because they are opportunity. Salespeople, copywriters and marketing pros can all tap into the power of triggers.
Focus marketing on a target group who has recently experienced a trigger event, and watch what happens.
Right now, just after a trigger event, the group’s selective perception is noticing similarities. People are realizing, “Hey! That’s just like me!”
They’re paying attention. Don’t miss your chance.
Use words, images or concepts that directly relate to the trigger event of this group. It makes everything pop. If the stimuli relates to their lives just after a trigger event, these people are more likely to become customers, too.
So capture their attention while you have it. Shout out the similarities. Address their newfound perception and tap into the window of opportunity you have.
Eventually, of course, people move on. They acknowledge the similarity and start to see it as commonplace, not new and exciting. They begin to filter the stimuli out. The new car isn’t anything special. The pregnancy passes. The baby gets absorbed into the family.
That’s okay. They aren’t your target audience anymore.